I spent this past long weekend at a cottage in Vermont hiking, enjoying and observing nature. This is the third time I’ve visited the cottage this year. It’s a wonderful place but it’s the first time I have seen it not covered in snow (Pic 1). The snow is melting at a furious pace and plants and animals are starting to become more active.
In the cottage, the cluster flies are out in high numbers as are the ladybird beetles. They’re still quite slow moving and are very uncoordinated; I find many on buzzing around on their backs (Pic 2). They don’t seem to be doing so well, much to the delight of the ladybird beetles that follow the dying flies for a hearty meal (sorry for anthropomorphising). Outside of the cottage; hyacinths are starting to break through the soil. Spring is in the air.
On a Sunday ramble in the surrounding forest, I saw many sleepy arthropods walking on the snow. Winter stoneflies (Pic 3) were in great number on the snow looking to scrounge anything they can (http://3linesabout6legs.wordpress.com/). Chironomids (midges) were flying or walking on the remaining snow in the sun spots where the sun broke through the canopy (Pic. 4). I also saw many spiders, also looking for slow moving prey on the snow.
Then one morning, after I came back from a walk with Maya in the surrounding forest, I found a black-legged tick on the carpet in the apartment. Maya must have picked it up as she was chasing squirrels in the forest and brought it in with her. I was amazed at how early in the season they are out! Luckily it wasn’t embedded yet although it is a reminder of the summer ahead. Since Maya is a tick magnet, it’ll be a tick filled summer for me. In case you haven’t noticed I’m not a fan of these beasts but they’re a reality. Since they are out so early and if you find yourself in a forest, make sure to check yourself for ticks!
All in all it was great weekend to see everything coming back to life, even though they are alive uner the snow where we can’t see them, and getting ready for summer. It’s great to get outdoors and see stuff.